Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Inspired by the Sound of the Rain - A mini tutorial

It's been raining here for the last couple of days and despite the fact that it is still pretty cold, there is still always something cleansing and refreshing about the rain. I thought it was the perfect opening for me to share a fun tutorial about how to make a rainstick. The recycled crayon tutorial was really well received, so I thought I would post another one. This one also uses mostly recycled items. It doesn't have as many photos because we actually made them awhile ago, but I think you'll be able to follow along pretty easily.

Materials needed:

1 cardboard paper towel roll
approximately 30 1 inch nails
beads - assorted shapes, sizes, glass and plastic
1 sheet of cardstock
masking or duct tape
papier mache paste
strips of newspaper
tissue paper
white glue

1. The first thing you need to do is insert nails into the paper towel roll approximately 1/2 inch apart following the spiral of the card board on the paper towel roll. Make a second row of nails about 1 inch below the first row and spiral it around the roll. This is probably best done by parents if you are doing this with your children. You can also pre-poke the holes and then it should be OK for the kids to insert the nails. The nails should be short enough that they don't puncture the other side, but long enough to span the diameter of the roll. When you are finished, this is what the inside of your roll should look like:
The spiral "staircase" made by the nails will slow the beads a bit as the travel down the roll and create the rain sound.

2. Next cut 2 circles out of the cardstock to cover the ends of the roll. The cardstock will add another dimension of sound as the beads hit it. Cover one end and tape down the cardstock. Remember to add the beads before sealing the other end. I recommend using different sizes of beads and both plastic and glass for a realistic rain sound. Test your rainstick by tilting it and listen to hear the rain.

3. Cover the entire stick with tape. This will secure the nails and help the roll keep it's shape during the papier mache process.

4. Take strips of newspaper and dip them in the papier mache paste (follow the link above for an easy recipe, or just google it. There tons of different recipes out there) and wipe off the excess. Layer the strips of paper, making sure to change directions for each layer to increase it's strength. You'll need at least 4 layers. Let it dry overnight. If the rain stick feels sturdy and strong when dry proceed to the next step. If it is still a bit flimsy, add a couple more layers of papier mache & newspaper strips and let dry again before proceeding.

5. Seal the rainstick with gesso or primer and then paint or cover with strips of tissue using slightly watered down white glue. I recommend sealing the stick with matte sealer spray to protect your design since it will be handled.

6. Have fun and enjoy the soothing sounds of the rain!

Here's a tutorial that outlines how to make a polymer clay rain stick.

Here are a couple really cool polymer rain stick's made by Alyssa of She even used the paper towel roll core, which I hadn't tried before with polymer clay.

Update: My tutorial made it onto the Totally Tutorials Blog! They have some really great free tutorials there. Make sure to check them out!

Totally Tutorials Blog


Block Party Press said...

Those are gorgeous. Would you mind if I including a pic of them in my post? I've only made 1 with polymer clay a long time ago. I didn't use a cardboard tube though. I made an inner tube of polymer clay using a dowel covered in foil. I poked holes in it prior to cooking and then added the nails after it was cooked. I then added a second layer of clay to cover everything and seal it up and then baked. I didn't get an cracks though. I wish I had some pictures of it. said...

This is AWESOME! What a great project for kids, I love it! I'll be linking to this post in my next kid's Roundup.

DivaDea said...

Thanks. Yes, feel free to use any of my photos. Thanks for the info - I've been trying to think of a better way than a cardboard tube.

MOR VAGON said...

Good idea. I'll try immediately.


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